Guru: Manage PTFs With The Administration Runtime Expert
November 9, 2020 Dawn May
This fourth article in my series on using the Administration Runtime Expert (ARE) reviews how ARE is used to manage PTFs. This article assumes you have already learned the basics of how to use ARE from the prior articles.
PTF management with ARE features these key functions:
- Check your installed group PTF levels compared to the latest levels available from IBM
- Verify consistent PTF levels installed across multiple partitions
- Distribute PTF images to endpoint systems
- Optionally load and apply PTFs
The ARE Template Editor provides the interface to define your templates for PTF management.
Start by determining what type of validation you need for your PTFs. There are three different types of collections you can create for PTFs.
1. Groups from Preventative Service Planning: The first option compares the PTF Groups installed on the target system with the PTF Group levels available from the IBM PSP information. The list of PTF groups to select from is primed with the groups installed on the central system. The default is to check on all PTF groups, but you can optionally select specific PTF groups to check. In addition, ARE provides the option to disregard groups released within a selected timeframe; for example, your production system may lag behind in the PTF group levels by 60 days. This option in ARE allows you to disregard those PTF groups released in the last 60 days.
2. PTFs or groups installed on the central system: This option verifies PTFs installed on the endpoint systems as compared to the central system. When you create this type of collection, you can select PTF groups, or you can select the PTFs related to the installed products on the central system. The PTF information is primed from the central system and when the verification is performed, the PTFs installed on the endpoint system are compared to those installed on the central system. This type of collection is useful if you have a golden central system and you want to make sure all endpoint systems have the same PTFs installed.
3. A list of specific PTFs or groups: This final option allows you to select specific PTFs requiring verification; you can verify the PTF is installed or not installed. The list of PTFs is primed from the PTFs installed on the central system, but you also have the ability to add a specific PTF that you wish to check for.
Once you have created the template, use the ARE console to run the verification. When comparing PTFs across multiple partitions, all partitions need to be at the same release. If the verification discovers that PTFs are not consistent with the central system, the summary report will show the differences. ARE provides fix actions where you can correct the differences.
The screen capture below shows an example report where errors were detected.
PTF Fix Actions
The Fix actions link allows you to distribute PTF images and optionally load and apply missing PTFs.
PTF save files can be sent to the endpoint systems, or you can set up an image catalog with your PTF images. To use an image catalog, the endpoint system must create a virtual optical device by the name of QIBMAREPTF that points to your image catalog.
Many IBM i shops tightly control installation of PTFs, so loading and applying PTFs through ARE may not be an option for everyone. However, using ARE expedites the distribution of PTF images for a later installation.